Pentathlon is a country horse at heart.
Touching down in Sydney a few weeks ago for the $2 million Sydney Cup in Randwick this weekend, trainers soon recognised Pentathlon was out of his element and struggling to settle into his new location.
City life didn’t sit well for the five-year-old chestnut gelding, who has regular access to a large farm and paddock in New Zealand.
“This is what he’s used to,” said his trainer’s daughter Kylie Wheeler as she walked across the Goulburn and District Racing Club track on Tuesday morning.
“In Sydney he was leaving a bit of feed, but now he’s been eating non-stop. He’s really happy now.”
Patrick Murphy, who rode Pentathlon for his last preparatory gallop, returned to Wheeler with a smile on his face, satisfied with the horse’s performance and spirit.
Racecourse manager Brody Willis received a call about Pentathlon’s final gallop in Goulburn last Friday. He described the call as surprising, but equally pleasing.
“I don’t think there’s been a Melbourne Cup runner race on this track,” Willis said. (Pentathlon was a 2016 contender.)
“To do their last bit of training instead of going into town is pretty cool.”
Willis says a contributing factor to the race track’s reputation in the industry is the upkeep and quality of the surface.
“You want a good surface to work on and it’s vital piece going into the race. I think there is potential for this to continue into the future.
“For it to be done here, I think it’s a good thing to be coming out of Goulburn race club. Not many people around here run in a race like this ”
The club can stable up to 90 horses at one time.
Club chief executive Robyn Fife says Pentathlon’s unexpected presence is testament to the track.
“We’ve attracted a horse of this calibre and we’re proud to be involved,” Fife said.
“It is something we would like to do more of. It helps our racing industry and training, and helps raise our profile.”
Pentathlon stayed in Goulburn on Tuesday with plans to travel to Sydney in the lead-up to the big race.